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About Thread Count

What is thread count and what does it really mean?

Thread count is the number of threads woven together in a square inch. It consists of the vertical threads (the warp) and the horizontal threads (the weft) woven together. For years, it has been an incredibly popular way to determine the quality of fabrics used in sheets and bedding products. However, it may not necessarily be the most important factor. Fiber quality, yarn size, and finishing, all play important roles in the quality of a fabric.

About Thread Count

What is thread count and what does it really mean?

Thread count is the number of threads woven together in a square inch. It consists of the vertical threads (the warp) and the horizontal threads (the weft) woven together. For years, it has been an incredibly popular way to determine the quality of fabrics used in sheets and bedding products. However, it may not necessarily be the most important factor. Fiber quality, yarn size, and finishing, all play important roles in the quality of a fabric.

A common misconception has been that the higher the thread count, the finer and softer the fabric.

But that is not always the case. While sheet sets with 600 and 800 thread counts were considered highly desirable and more luxurious, an optimal thread count for bed linens is right around 400.

How is this so? It all depends on how the thread count is constructed. Traditionally, thread count equaled the total number of warp and weft yarns, based on using a single ply-yarn. However, to achieve higher thread counts, manufacturers started using double-ply yarns and inserting multiple yarns (picks) into the weft.

In weave quality terms, the finest fabrics are made with single-ply yarns and have just one pick. The highest thread counts that can be achieved using this type of construction are 400-450. For higher thread counts such as 600 or 800, 2 ply yarns and/or multi-picks must be used. While the FTC has ruled that plied yarns should be counted as one thread when determining the thread count, this is not always enforced.

A common misconception has been that the higher the thread count, the finer and softer the fabric.

But that is not always the case. While sheet sets with 600 and 800 thread counts were considered highly desirable and more luxurious, an optimal thread count for bed linens is right around 400.

How is this so? It all depends on how the thread count is constructed. Traditionally, thread count equaled the total number of warp and weft yarns, based on using a single ply-yarn. However, to achieve higher thread counts, manufacturers started using double-ply yarns and inserting multiple yarns (picks) into the weft.

In weave quality terms, the finest fabrics are made with single-ply yarns and have just one pick. The highest thread counts that can be achieved using this type of construction are 400-450. For higher thread counts such as 600 or 800, 2 ply yarns and/or multi-picks must be used. While the FTC has ruled that plied yarns should be counted as one thread when determining the thread count, this is not always enforced.

Bedding 101

Whether you’re curious about thread counts or fill powers, feather size, or fabrics, read up on the basics of bedding from A to Zzzz.

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